1. The receptionist isn’t at the front desk.
Have you ever walked into a salon and there was no receptionist to greet you? You don’t know who your stylist is so you search the faces of the beauticians. They take tentative glances in your direction but no one greets you. (Okay, so it doesn’t help that your hair might look like a mass of tumbleweed that hasn’t benefited from TLC in six months and they know they might have to work overtime to get you right. Or is that just me?) This has happened to me a couple of times and while I have no problem yelling out, “Hi I’m here to see Linda! Linda? Are you Linda?” This isn’t how a professional salon should treat its customers. Linda should be expecting you even if the receptionist is not. A simple acknowledgement to be with you in a moment is good enough for me.
2. Hairstylist doesn’t speak English.
I went to a lovely hairstylist for six months. It was a Dominican salon. I know. Dominican salons traditionally use a method of hairstyling that can be too aggressive for a black woman's fragile hair. I’ve learned a lot since then but back in the day I couldn’t resist the feel of my silky strands, the incomparable bounce and the featherweight feel of my hair. You know where this story is going, right? Humor me and pretend like you don’t. My hair came out from the harsh chemicals and the heat from the blow dryer. I stopped going to her and decided to go natural. The lesson I learned is that I need to communicate my hair needs to my hairstylist, and in turn, she needs to communicate to me when it’s time to take a break from a particular style, even if it’s a protective style like braids or weaves. At the end of the day, we must both have the same goal in mind: hair health.
3. The hairstylist suggests a “trim” when you just had one two weeks ago.
Just run. If you had a good trim recently, why subject yourself to a scissor-happy stylist who wants to show off her talents or collect a few extra bucks? Here’s an easy way to determine if it’s time for a hair trim.
4. Disinfectants and licenses are hidden from plain view.
One sign of a professional salon is the visibility of stylists’ licenses and the use of Barbicide to disinfectant tools. I feel a sense of comfort when I can see my stylist’s smiling face on her license. I’d like to know that before she colors my hair she’s passed a state-mandated test first. As far as disinfectants go, well,
I’m leery of salons that don’t have any clear method of disinfection. There are several infections you can contract from tools that haven’t been disinfected. Thanks, but I’m not interested in getting any of them.
5. The salon creates more smoke than a house fire.
I walked into a salon once and was seriously tempted to call the fire department. I thought I’d mistakenly walked into a cigar lounge. Stylists used the old-fashioned curling irons to give their client’s curls that could sustain through gale force wind. The environment struck me as being the antithesis of promoting hair health. I believe in burn, baby, burn, but only as it applies to the dance floor. I cancelled my appointment.
How do you know when you’ve walked into the wrong salon or met the wrong stylist?